Published: 2012-Dec-10 09:06

Hackers, Crackers, Slackers

I think of myself as a hacker. I know enough to be useful and that is a super-set of, "enough to be dangerous." [0] In private that is how I would describe my computer skills, but publicly we have a problem. Us computer artisans are known in the public media as hackers if we break the law, (or cause a nuisance.)

Some of the hacker community wanted to distance themselves from negative activity without relinquishing their title, so they came up with the term Cracker for Crazy-hacker, (not really, more like probably "work for organised crime or spam-lords" but W.O.C.O.S.L. didn't catch on. )

While looking for a javascript user-data lib I found a blog entry by Constantine. This reminded me of Neuromancer. (OK, so we call them firewalls rather than ICE - though I would have liked that, we already have enough TLAs in my world - Gibson got a lot of it right.) [1]

So I thought to propose we have three scales:
    Wintermute scale is how law abiding they are. (Fully WM would should be imprisoned.)
    Neuromancer is how powerful someone is, (Neuro, is top of the scale.)
    H.Case is how good/kind they are.

Then I realised that

  1. Language evolves rather than is created or forced
  2. I'm just re-creating role-playing character alignment, (and not very well.)
  3. I've tried this before with 

So how do we get hacker = lawful;good and cracker = chaotic;evil ? Add your ideas to the comments.

[0] I've often met script-kiddies who, "know enough to be dangerous, but not enough to be useful".
[1] Though I still prefer Snow Crash, (thanks Shish).